Constitutively active MPK4 helps to clarify its role in plant immunity


Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) modules are often involved in stress responses and plant developmental processes. Among these MAPKs, MPK4 has a complex role in biotic stress signaling, cell division control and cytoskeletal organization. mpk4 knockout (KO) plants are dwarfed and very sick, making it difficult to distinguish between cause and effect of its phenotype. To overcome this difficulty, we developed mutations triggering constitutive MPK4 activity and created transgenic lines allowing phenotypic studies on a WT-like plant. By this approach, we confirmed that MPK4 functions as a negative regulator of pathogen defense, but our work also suggests that MPK4 interferes with stress signaling pathways at several distinct steps in pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-triggered immunity (PTI) as well as in effector-triggered immunity (ETI). This study shows that CA mutations are valuable complementary tools to study MAPK signaling pathways in planta.

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S Berriri, AV Garcia, Frey NF Dit, W Rozhon, S Pateyron, N Leonhardt, JL Montillet, J Leung, H Hirt, J Colcombet. Constitutively active mitogen-activated protein kinase versions reveal functions of Arabidopsis MPK4 in pathogen defense signaling. Plant Cell 2012; 24: 4281- 93.
PMID: 23115249 DOI: 10.1105/tpc.112.101253

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Constitutively active MPK4 helps to clarify its role in plant immunity